North Carolina Awarded Rights to Host 2029 World University Games

North Carolina has been awarded hosting rights for the 2029 World University Games, the organization announced on Tuesday. The vote happened at the organization’s meeting this week in Lake Placid, which is the host of the upcoming Winter World University Games in January 2023.

North Carolina’s bid was previously one of two finalists to host the 2027 World University Games, with South Korea winning a November vote to host that event.

The 2029 move was foreshadowed at the time, though. With bidders for major international multi-sport events like this becoming more scarce, and a highly-qualified North Carolina bid with most venues already existing, FISU hinted at the possibility of North Carolina winning a future bid.

That’s exactly what happened this week.

“We were very impressed with what North Carolina has to offer the FISU Games from our site visits, their candidature dossiers, and the presentation to our Executive Committee in conjunction with their original bid for the 2027 FISU World University Games,” said FISU President Leonz Eder. “The North Carolina USA Bid, in fact, scored the highest on our staff technical evaluation of the bids. Even though North Carolina did not win the 2027 FISU Games last fall, we have worked diligently with our membership and staff since that time on the best way to secure North Carolina USA as a future host of the FISU Games. Fortunately, with our leadership gathered in Lake Placid for the Winter Games, the timing has been very appropriate and opportune to approve North Carolina USA as the Host City of the 2029 FISU World University Games.”

The bid was centered around the Research Triangle in North Carolina, which includes the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Organizers estimated between $150 million and $350 million in revenue for the state. The bid proposed the swimming competition to be held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, which is about an hour away from the Triangle. That facility has seating for almost 2,000 spectators off-deck and has four pools.

The state committed $25 million in startup money to the organizing committee.

“The award of the 2029 FISU World University Games to our state and country is the culmination of an extensive, five-year effort by more than 1,000 individuals, 13 universities, five cities, five counties, the State of North Carolina, and 53 corporate and organizational sponsors to land this amazing event,” the head of the organizing committee Hill Carrow said. “As an event that features the best collegiate athletes from around the world, it is a natural fit for a state with 130 colleges and universities and more than 350,000 university students. North Carolina’s landing these Games is similar to a major corporate relocation as the FISU Games will deliver a local economic impact of over $150 million, but with the added benefits of significant international tourism and worldwide branding exposure for our state and local communities.”

Carrow said that ahead of the November 2022 vote, he already had two private sponsorships worth “at least $3.5 million.”

The World University Games are, depending on the year, one of the three largest sporting events in the world by participants. The 12,885 participants in South Korea in 2015 is more than the Olympic Games (which are working to shrink participant counts) or Asian Games have ever drawn. The multi-sport event for university students has included three aquatics disciplines at recent events – pool swimming, water polo, and diving.

The 2023 World University Games are scheduled for Chengdu, China. The last edition of the Summer World University Games hosted in the US were in Buffalo in 1993.

Upcoming World University Games Hosts:

  • 2023 – Chengdu, China
  • 2025 – Rhine-Ruhr Region, Germany
  • 2027 – Chungcheong Megacity, South Korea
  • 2029 – Research Triangle, United States

This will be the end of a run of major hosting duties for the United States, which includes the 2026 FIFA World Cup in men’s soccer, the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and now the 2029 World University Games.

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Seth
14 days ago

I wonder how colleges worldwide are represented at WUGs?
I know that many colleges worldwide and in countries do not have sports associated with them.

Are there countries that are stronger and weaker due to some colleges not having sports teams?

Jonathan
14 days ago

I guess it would be easy enough to look up which pool in the Triangle will host the swimming. Or, it would be easier to read that detail right in the article.

TimmyTongle
14 days ago

Organizers*

Swimmer209
14 days ago

How about let’s focus on sending a team before we figure out who’s hosting an event 6 years from now

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Reply to  Swimmer209
14 days ago

👍

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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